Our students returned to school this week and it won’t be long before my speech groups start again. Around the campus I saw many new faces. A few had startled-wide eyes and slippery smiles that turned up one moment and quivered into a frown the next. Several parents mirrored the look. I held trembling hands when helping a few five-year-olds find their classrooms for the first time. Apprehension passed over older student faces too, but they were quick to break into a smile when they saw a friend or teacher they’d missed over the summer.
Unlike a classroom teacher, my program doesn’t start on the first day of school so I’m free to help in other ways – like shepherding lost children to their rooms and supervising the early arrivers on the playground. On Tuesday, I was doing just that, and listening to the kids tell about their summer vacations, when we all noticed the sky. It was absolutely stunning. The sun pyramided down through a break in the clouds and lit the rest of the expanse with a silver-yellow glow. I wish I’d had a camera with me, but since I didn’t I’ll share a photo I took last year on my first day back to school. The formations were similar but it was a little earlier in the day when I took this photo.
I asked the kids what they thought the sky looked like and one child said it looked like mountains. Another agreed, “Yes, mountains.” But Maddie pointed toward one long ray of light and said, “That looks like a key.” Those words ignited lively chatter and brought a glitter to the kids’ eyes as we talked of what that key might open and where a door through the clouds might lead. The bell rang before I’d heard enough, but I think I’ll learn more about that magic key in the future. Maddie is a speech student and she loves to create stories.
Now that school is in session, my blog-vacation has ended and I’m happy to be back. I had a productive summer working on other writing projects and scouting out new books to share with my students this year. You’ll be hearing about them in the months to come along with the kids’ reactions. And you might even hear some of their own stories. After all, Maddie found the key to a rich imaginary world and I know she’ll be willing to share it with others.